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2022-01 Daily Devotional - Learning from God - plant shoots growing in the ground with a green background. 2022-01 Daily Devotional - Learning from God - plant shoots growing in the ground with a green background.

Question and Answer | Living Forever

Do all people (souls) live forever, whether it be in heaven or hell?

The short answer is that both repentant and unrepentant souls persist through death. But it may be helpful for us to have a better understanding of the difference between the body and the soul. The soul is your immaterial part—rational, emotional, and spiritual faculties— whereas the body is your physical part. One does not “have a soul,” rather, one is a soul that has a body.

At death, the person’s soul departs his or her body to be judged (Heb. 9:27). At this time, Jesus condemns the unrepentant: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Unbelievers are neither annihilated nor repentant after death, but “go away to eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46). For those who have acknowledged the lordship of Jesus Christ, their soul is immediately conducted into the presence of God.

While contemplating his pending execution, Paul told the Philippians that “I desire to depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23; see also 2 Cor. 5:8). At death, the believer’s soul will be immediately in God’s presence! Believers endure neither soul-sleep nor purgatory, but experience conscious and joyous fellowship with Jesus Christ and other saints.

BY Sanjay Merchant

Sanjay Merchant is Professor of Theology at Moody Bible Institute and a teaching pastor at Northshore Christian Church in Everett, Washington. He earned his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University School of Religion, and Master’s degrees from Biola University. He enjoys helping his students wrestle with hard questions of the faith, teaching courses on philosophy, theology, and apologetics. Sanjay and his wife, Erin, have four children and reside in Roselle, Illinois.

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